Eureka! Green Queen uses ancient Greek genius to power Windsor (and we mean Archimedes, not her 90-year-old husband, Philip)
By REBECCA ENGLISH
The Queen has given the green light to power Windsor Castle by hydroelectricity, using two giant turbines.
The 40-ton Archimedes Screws were yesterday delivered to Romney Weir on the River Thames, within sight of her favourite royal residence.
Prince Philip, who is something of a technology buff, has taken a keen interest.
As their name suggests, the turbines look like the screw developed by the Ancient Greek mathematician and engineer Archimedes of Syracuse.
Green Queen: Her Majesty has given the green light to power Windsor by hydroelectricity, using turbines based on principles developed by Archimedes
He invented the screw to raise low-lying water so it could irrigate land at the top of a slope, but its modern namesake is turned by falling water from the weir.
Each turbine is connected to a gearbox and generator to produce electricity.
They will be lowered into place at the end of the month and it is hoped they will be ready to generate environmentally-friendly power from November.
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Palace sources say they are uncertain whether they will be able to power the castle entirely by green electricity immediately, but hope that it could happen next year.
The Queen could even one day turn a profit by selling surplus energy back to the National Grid.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: ‘We have been looking at this for a number of years. It is one of a number of green initiatives introduced at royal residences by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.’
The Archimedes Screws cost £700,000 to make at a factory in Holland, and with the other equipment will cost a further £1million to install. It is estimated the turbines will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 790,000 kilos per year.
David Dechambeau, managing director of Southeast Power Engineering, said he was ‘over the moon’ to have the Queen as a customer.
He first approached the Royal Household in 2007 about developing hydroelectric power for Windsor Castle and found officials ‘very keen’. He added: ‘They want to do anything they can to reduce their carbon footprint.’
But it took two years to get all the permits through the Environment Agency, which had never before leased property to a private company and needed to be sure the project would not affect navigation, flood control and wildlife.
Environmentally-powered castle: The 40-ton Archimedes Screws were lowered into place by crane at Romney Weir